Her takes place in the not so distant future, with Theodore (Joaquin Pheonix) feeling lonely and heartbroken after divorcing his ex-wife. When a new AI operating system comes out named Samantha (Scarlett Johansson), he buys it to help him not feel isolated, but slowly starts to fall in love with her.
I remember when this film came out a couple years ago and I dismissed it because I thought it was weird that a man falls in love with a robot. And while the premise is still a little weird, this actually is a beautiful story.
Joaquin Phoenix is pretty exceptional in this role, his character, Theodore, writes love letters for couples, and he is very in tune with emotions and can capture love very well. And since love is a big part of his life, when he finds himself without love, he does not what to do and is unhappy. He wants another human connection, but has trouble with that, so he uses technology to fill that void. Similarly, Scarlett Johansson in her voice role is phenomenal, she sounds as an assistant would, but she’s not robotic like Siri or Alexa, you can sense her confusion about what she is, her curiosity of the human body and world among other things. And you just buy their romance, it’s not viewed as weird in their “future.”
Spike Jonze directed this film, and is mostly known for directing music videos, and his directing here is marvelous. I was surprised at how existential the movie is – it asks questions like what is a being and what does love do in our lives. It comments on technology, our society, on love and other emotions, and what it means to be human.
Overall, Her turned out to be a much deeper, thought provoking film than I expected. I give it an A.